We are thrilled that our friends at Elegant Affairs have agreed to be part of our monthly vendor spotlight series! We can attest to their beautiful work with some of the gorgeous weddings we’ve collaborated on here & here. BUT, with years of expertise under their belts with mandaps and event design, we thought getting their insight on colors & styles of mandaps, flower arrangements/designs and out-of-the-box event design ideas would help inspire our brides-to-be on their path to the wedding day!
tanaRi events (TE): Sharda & Shohba, thank you ladies for taking the time to answer some of our questions! It’s a pleasure for us to be speaking with some of the best in our business! For the non-Maharani brides out there, what is a mandap? And for our Maharani brides, what is a traditional mandap size?
Elegant Affairs (EA): A wedding mandap is a covered structure with pillars temporarily erected for the purpose of Hindu and/or Jain wedding ceremonies. The incorporation of a wedding mandap is an ancient custom and has been described in various Sanskrit texts. It is traditionally made of wood, although in modern weddings, other unique materials can be used (such as delicate fabrics, flowers, crystals & lights). The wedding mandap often comes as a set that will include pillars, royal chairs for the bridal couple, side chairs for the parents and a pedestal for the sacred fire ritual.
Traditional Mandaps were enclosed mandaps which used four banana trees and bamboo. They were decorated with marigolds & mango leaf torans. Today’s traditional mandaps are also done with four poles. These can either be decorative pillars or poles covered in fabric. The size of these enclosed mandaps can vary from a 10’ x 10’ Square to a large 16’ x 40’ Rectangle.
TE: We love hearing about the history of a mandap and how it compares/contrasts to what we see today. How do the styles & shapes vary based on the religious ceremony? Do you find that there’s a “favorite” color and/or style by your clients?
EA: One popular design style for mandap called “Dilwara Style” is based on the designs found in Jain Dilwara temples of India. These temples are world famous for their stunning pillar designs. Although more couples are using modern materials for their mandaps, it’s important to insuring all religious aspects of a mandap are present, including a “Havankunda” structure used for fire worship & oblations.
As for our clients recently, a favorite has been the more modern-day style with all fabric. The romantic, draping fabric has become very popular since 2012, usually in lighter colors such as champagne or blush. These colors, along with matching soft-colored flowers create such a beautiful ambiance especially for outdoor weddings!”
TE: Based on the location of the wedding, there must be different preferred mandap styles or ones that stand better to different weather conditions What do you recommend as mandap styles for unique weddings (ie. beach weddings or destination weddings?)
EA: We recommend simple Mandaps for destination or beach weddings. Our favorite would have four simple poles with soft, sheer, flowing fabric.
TE: What I find people notice the most is the fabric and its vibrant textures and colors. Is there a certain type of fabric you recommend for a mandap? Where does the fabric come from?
EA: Sheer fabrics such as Chiffon or Georgette always flow very nicely on mandaps. We usually recommend that or a Sateen depending on the design. The backdrops and fabrics that have traditional work on them (beaded/sequined/embroidered/Jaddossi) are from India. Otherwise, we get our fabrics locally in New York City.
TE: Wow! With all those complex fabrics, we can see how bringing the idea all together can take some time! How long does it typically take to come up with the initial idea for the mandap (with clients’ opinions considered) and present it to them? How early on before the wedding should they be approaching you with brainstorming ideas?
EA: Mandap designs are based on the size and shape of the ballroom or area where the ceremony is being held. We recommend that a couple should see us at least six months prior to the wedding to begin design planning.
TE: What is the most frequently questions asked by a bride when considering the event design?
EA: There are a couple of common questions. One is “what are the new design trends?” Our brides are becoming more and more modern and they like to keep up with the trends. Another frequent question regards budget and how the client can fit all the décor they love into their specific budget. Bride’s like to take our advice while figuring out which other vendors to use and often ask who is the best.
TE: Speaking of budget, how many weddings do you do per year on average? What is the average budget you’re asked to work with for your clients?
EA: We do approximately 250 events per year. Because there are so many events, the budget range is HUGE. But, the average amount spent is usually around $10,000.
TE: It seems like one area that couples’ try to find some budget flexibility with is the floral arrangements. What are some tips/ideas that you provide to bride & groom for saving on flowers? We always get brides who ask us how you can achieve their look without blowing their budget or compromising on the quality. Can you elaborate a bit on that?
EA: We often recommend to break up the centerpiece styles. For example, a bride can use some candelabras with candles & cylinders with floating candles for most of their centerpieces and then have a floral style for the remaining ones. This way, you are saving on floral items but not compromising the overall look of the room. Another way to save on flowers is to re-use some items. Sometimes a few Mandap bouquets are reused on the reception coffee table or centerpieces can be also used in the clients’ aisle. This helps a lot!
TE: We never want couples to feel like they’re overspending, but as vendors we will recommend that some wedding details may require a bit of extra money to achieve a most successful result. Where are areas in the event design planning that are better to save money VS what’s worth the splurge to spend money on?
EA: We recommend that a bride saves money on the ceremony, aisle and cocktail. There are so many simple yet beautifully done ways a ceremony can be handled. The splurge is definitely recommended for the reception stage, centerpieces and lighting. All these components set the mood for the rest of the night.
TE: From a creative perspective, what are some out of the box ideas that you have heard of from a bride? How did you bring that vision come to life?
EA: One time a bride really wanted her and the groom to enter the ballroom in a special way. They wanted to be sitting on a moon and be lowered from the ceiling. We created a moon that was able to be rigged up to a swing/bench and lowered just like they wanted!
The first time we try to base our décor on a certain theme, it becomes an out-of-the-box idea. Vintage became a huge trend, but we nailed it the first time a bride wanted that look. We pride ourselves on being able to take any vision a client has and help to shape it in a classy way, without letting it get too overwhelming.